Essay on the Uses of Statistical Method in Sociology

The statistical method is of great help in some cases in order to disclose the relationship be­tween different aspects of social phenomena. It also helps to arrive at generalisations regarding their nature, occurrence, and meaning. It is an important tool in research in the sense it can be effectively used in issues or problems which involve measurement or numerals.

For example, this method can be very effectively used in studies relating to rates of birth and death, divorce and marriage, crime and suicide. Useful information can be obtained by the application of this method in studies pertain­ing to migration, economic conditions, standard of living, human ecology, public opinion, and so on.

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The statistical method reveals certain distinctive features when applied to the study of social phenomena. Firstly, collection of numerical information about social issues or problems cannot always be done by direct observation. It has to be done through questionnaires and surveys which have their own limitations.

Secondly, a social statistician is concerned with the problems of inter­views also. In interviews some respondents may refuse to provide the information which they have been asked for. If such respondents are selected out of sampling, the problem of refusal becomes a significant deficiency in the whole process.

Thirdly, social statisticians are often interested in the analysis of data, which can be ordered but not measured. (Ex: the provision of medical facilities being classified into—good, fair, indifferent and poor).

Sociologists like Comte, Prof. Giddings and others have emphasised the importance of this method in sociological research. It is true that most of the data dealt with in sociology are qualitative and not quantitative in nature. Still sociologists are struggling to reduce more and more of such data to quantitative terms so that they can be studied statistically.

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